Oddities&Endities

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Future posts will appear on THIS SITE until further notice - ie when blogger actually allows me to post pics again!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hello, handsome!


Mirror makes elephants reflect
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 2:22am GMT 31/10/2006

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the smartest pachyderm of all? Happy, the Asian elephant, according to an experiment that reflects well on their great intelligence.
Researchers exposed Happy, Maxine and Patty - all adult Asian females at the Bronx Zoo in New York - to a square eight-ft mirror and discovered that they were aware that they were looking at their own reflections.
And in the case of Happy, she also touched a mark on her head which she could not have otherwise seen.
In this way, elephants have joined a small, elite group of species - including humans, great apes and dolphins - that have the ability to recognise themselves in the mirror.
Daily Telegraph

When the strain is too much for the train


'Does anyone have nuts or bolts to fix this train?'
By Anil Dakar
Last Updated: 3:28am GMT 31/10/2006

If the Tannoy announcement had asked for a doctor to make themselves known on a London to Manchester train last Friday, passengers would probably not have been too startled.
But when Virgin Trains' leaning train pulled into Rugby station, the last thing the travellers were expecting was an appeal for help to get the locomotive going again.
After several minutes sitting silently at the station, a sheepish member of staff broke the silence with the announcement: "If anyone has some nuts and bolts with them will they come forward?"
The super-fast Pendolino had ground to a halt because the blades on the windscreen wipers had come loose and it could not pull away until they had been fixed.
"For want of a nut the windscreen wiper won't work, and for want of a windscreen wiper the train can't move. And, if the train can't move there are going to be loads of trains behind us that can't move either."
Daily Telegraph

Monday, October 30, 2006

Generous helpings


Town turns into sticky pudding
By Nicole Martin
Last Updated: 1:19am BST 28/10/2006

If the thought of semolina makes your stomach turn by reviving memories of sloppy school dinners, spare a thought for the people living in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. They woke up yesterday morning to find a dusting of the grains covering roads and pavements after a factory silo malfunctioned and blasted two tons of it into the air.
As staff from Great Yarmouth Borough Council tried to clean the semolina away with water, it became sticky and turned into the dessert loathed by school children across the country. John Hemsworth, the council's head of environmental health, said the grain was thrown out of the top of the Pasta Foods silo after a sudden release of pressure.
"It looked like there had been a heavy frost," he said. "Everywhere was just white, even the grass. We had 10-15 people trying to clear it up, but as soon as it got wet it became more of a problem."
Pedestrian access around the town's Haven Bridge was closed off while cleaners battled to get rid of the sticky pudding. Mr Hemsworth said: "We had to get permission from the Environment Agency to put it in the river, then permission from Anglian Water to put it into the drains. It was all very complicated."
Daily Telegraph

Getting the wrong signals...


Now condensation is to blame for train delays
By David Millward, Transport Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:19am BST 28/10/2006

Commuters have had to put up with the leaves on the line and the wrong sort of snow, but this morning the excuse given to passengers as they crawled towards London was "condensation".
The explanation was given to around 500 people on the 7.30 from Southampton to Waterloo service at the end of what has been a wretched few days for customers on South West trains.
They have had to put up with a derailment at the start of the week and late running engineering works. Any hopes they may have had of a smooth journey were dashed when the train was stuck at a series of signals around Winchester. According to passengers on the train, the guard told them that the sudden cold snap had led to condensation on signals, which had to be turned red as a precaution.
As a result trains had to be "talked through" each one, adding more than an hour to the journey.
Daily Telegraph

Friday, October 27, 2006

Priceless..if you don't want to pay!


Police 'banned picture of thief to protect her human rights'
By Amy Iggulden
Last Updated: 2:33am BST 27/10/2006

A jeweller targeted by a prolific thief was told by police not to put up warning pictures because it would infringe the woman's human rights, it was claimed yesterday.
Isabel Kurtenbach, a jeweller in Kensington, west London, lost £2,000 worth of gold and silver this week to a woman posing as a wealthy visitor from Dubai.
The thief, who apparently targets the same row of shops once a year, chooses her jewellery before claiming she has to get her credit card from her driver. She then disappears with the goods.
Mrs Kurtenbach, 38, who captured the woman on CCTV, wanted to give other traders her picture to display.
Police told her that it would be against the Human Rights Act and suggested she wait for the thief to strike again so she could grab her and call 999.
Daily Telegraph

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Eye, eye


The latest fad ? eyelash transplants, a snip at £3,200
By Catherine Elsworth in New York
Last Updated: 1:13am BST 26/10/2006

Not content with lifting faces and boosting breasts, cosmetic surgeons in America have developed a "plug and sew" hair graft technique to give women longer, thicker eyelashes.
The surgery is the latest cosmetic fad to sweep the United States, with customers paying $6,000 (£3,200) to have treatment similar to that developed to treat balding men, which involves grafting hair from the head on to the upper eyelid.
The hairs then take root and start to grow, so the new lashes must be trimmed regularly and curled.
People with straight hair are advised to get their transplanted lashes permed to achieve a more realistic look.
Daily Telegraph

No fire without smoke


Fire station wrecked in blaze had no alarm
By Stewart Payne
Last Updated: 1:33am BST 26/10/2006

A fire station destroyed in a blaze did not have a smoke alarm fitted, an embarrassed brigade spokesman admitted yesterday.
The retained fire station at Arundel, West Sussex, was found to be ablaze when its part-time firemen arrived for work yesterday morning.
Smoke was belching from the unmanned building and they had to call on colleagues from neighbouring towns to put it out.
Crews in six fire engines arrived from Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Worthing and East Preston but were unable to prevent the destruction of the building and the appliance inside.
It emerged that the fire station was not fitted with any form of fire or smoke alarm.
Daily Telegraph

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ship Ahoy - prepare to be blasted!!


Nato warship on the wrong wavelength gives Clyde ferry a warning
By Auslan Cramb
Last Updated: 2:10am BST 25/10/2006

A tiny passenger ferry was unwittingly caught up in a war games exercise when a US warship threatened to blow unidentified vessels out of the water.
The skipper of the 70-year-old MV Kenilworth received a sinister message broadcast on Channel 16, which is used for routine communications, as the ferry crossed the River Clyde.
The warship had already spoken to the ferry and requested it kept a 1,000-yard clearance. But the US radio operator then failed to switch back to the frequency designated for a Nato exercise.
As a result, the ferry heard the operator say: "Unidentified vessel approaching on my starboard side, please identify yourself. If you fail to do so, we will open fire on you with live ammunition".
The message was intended for Royal Marines who were "attacking" the warship in inflatable boats.
A source in Gourock, the ferry's home port, said the skipper radioed back saying "he was just a wee ferry".
Daily Telegraph

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lifestyle budget


Patients 'should have own budgets'
By Celia Hall, Medical Editor
Last Updated: 2:52am BST 24/10/2006

Alan Milburn, the former health secretary and architect of many of the health service changes, called yesterday for patients with long-term conditions to be given their own budgets.
His idea could mean that patients with asthma or heart problems could choose to take an NHS package or decide how to spend the money themselves.
A similar scheme has been introduced in social care in which disabled and older people buy their own support rather than relying on the local council.
"The Department of Health is currently piloting individual budgets for a wider range of services," Mr Milburn said.
The Government aims to cover 100,000 patients through the scheme by 2012.
Daily Telegraph